Everyone knows the president deserves no credit for the recent employment gains — but do Republicans?
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A 2009 study of the “green energy” industry in Spain — an industry that can only survive with massive government subsidies, meaning taxes on the rest of us — concluded that “the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average (per “green job” created), or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created.”
Other highlights of the Spanish study:
• Since 2000 (and until the recent economic collapse), Spain spent over $800,000 for each “green job” created, including subsidies of more than $1.4 million per wind industry job.
• Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy; solar power has been particularly destructive.
• 90% of jobs created were temporary.
• Subsidies to green energy consumed about 3.5% of all personal income taxes collected.
In November and December, Spain announced massive cuts in solar and wind project subsidies even though a government minister recently said that Spain wants to double its renewable energy output over the next decade. It will be interesting to see whether its green Kool-Aid daydreams triumph over the economic reality. According to Bloomberg, last year, in Spain’s convoluted power payment system, where existing energy producers directly fund the subsidies to renewable energy, “the power system’s payment obligations exceeded its income by more than 4.6 billion euros ($6.5 billion).”
France has cut back on solar projects for the foreseeable future and Italy is slashing its efforts in both wind and solar power. South Africa is also looking to cut solar subsidies. And England is cutting the taxes on energy companies that have been used to subsidize solar projects.
Portugal, another European economic basket case, has also been on the “green energy” bandwagon. Though it has some advantage in its access to hydropower, CNN reports that “Being the third largest producer of renewable energy in Europe has meant a jump in costs — 15 percent - to household consumers of electricity in the last 10 years.”
Meanwhile the Netherlands, historically perhaps the most financially savvy European nation, is, according to press reports, “in a radical change of policy… reducing its targets for renewable energy and slashing the subsidies for wind and solar power [because] wind and solar subsidies are too expensive.”
And this is where Obama thinks the economic Holy Grail lies?
The danger for the U.S. economy lies in the Administration using executive agencies like the EPA to force economic changes it knows could never pass through Congress as legislation. It may only be a danger for two more years, but with enough determined enviros and socialists in positions of power and focused on the energy sector with a pathological hatred of fossil fuels, much damage can be done before the next president is sworn in. (And if Obama wins a second term, all bets on the future of America’s domestic energy production are off.)
In terms of politics, the key is not whether or not the recent uptick in employment is good news for the Obama Administration. While it is certainly better it than a growing unemployment rate, the critical point is that the Administration believes that the public will give it credit for the modestly improving situation. It is misjudging the public here just as it has with every major economic policy initiative since Obama took office.
The economy, even an improving economy, is Barack Obama’s Achilles heel; his claiming otherwise can only fool people if free-market citizens, politicians, and economists let him get away with it.
Congressional Republicans must remind the voting public over and over that the recent turn for the better in job creation occurred immediately following the November election. They must repeat, early and often, the value of the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts which the Democrats, in what may turn out to be very bad strategery on their part, agreed to let expire in two years and thus become a political issue again going into the 2012 elections. Republicans must not allow Obama to take credit for employment gains when his only impact has been the economic equivalent of putting a dozen leeches on a gravely ill patient who, fortunately, got better in spite of such quackery. And We the People must make the many vulnerable Democrats in the House and Senate understand that any move by the Administration, even if through regulatory channels nominally out of their control, to “require” Americans to pay more for heating and driving will be held against them with extreme electoral prejudice.
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